How to Fast Forward your Employee’s Career

Your employees’ professional growth doesn’t happen overnight. Developing people’s skills needs investment of thought, time and love in order to create meaningful change. Ideally a manager becomes a mentor. They provide guidance and coaching to evolve employee skill-sets, knowledge and confidence. With managers acting as the catalyst for progression, we’ve pinpointed five ways to effectively advance your employee’s career path.

Align your business goals

When you’re working closely with your employees, don’t forget to feed back the “bigger picture” to them. You can coach people in leadership qualities all day long but it’s pointless if you’re not communicating why. Employees motivation to excel can diminish if they don’t feel valued or believe they can create an impact for the company. Realistically, how empowered would your employees feel if they’re given the freedom to make smart, informed decisions however they still need to run their ideas by you before making moves? Communicate the objectives and company goals before anything else, and provide freedom for them to actually reach these.

Create a career development plan

Having conversations around career progressions is the first step in gauging employee development, but it’s important to follow up with implementing achievable objectives. This encourages employees to formulate their goals so they can actively execute them. Create a space where you can collaborate openly on short-term and long-term career goals and most importantly how these can be achieved. If you’re not sure where role progression can evolve, check out Search Party’s Career Path Tool to see all possible options.

Articulate expectations

Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a popular technique to setting and communicating goals and results in organisations. The main purpose for OKRs is to connect the company, team and individual’s personal objectives to measurable results, ensuring everyone is moving in the right direction. The structure is fairly straightforward.

  • Define 3-5 key objectives on company, team or personal levels. These must be qualitative, ambitious and time bound.
  • Under each objective, define 3-4 measurable results based on growth performance, revenue or engagement.

When OKRs are a place and remain transparent across all teams, employees have complete clarity of knowing what’s expected of them and have something to work towards. Defining these can take into account career progressions or onboarding new responsibilities or projects and when you’re able to measure you’re also able to mentor. No wonder OKR’s are loved by tech giants like Google, Twitter, and Oracle. It’s a proven process that genuinely works.

Actively identify new opportunities within the organisation

When employees begin to seek new experiences or want to build their portfolio of skill-sets, 9 times out of 10 they’ll leave their current organisation rather than take on a new role in a different area within their current company. And it’s no surprise that losing talent and re-training new starters is timely and costly for managers. However this behaviour can be avoided if there is real encouragement and facilitation of internal transfers. Speak with the individual about what skills they would like to gain or areas they wish to excel in and then identify all possible new opportunities and paths they can explore within the organisation. Mentors are those who can look beyond their own areas or personal needs for growth opportunities, even if it means they’re losing a great asset.

Encourage developmental assignments

Developmental assignments come from the opportunity to initiate something new that an employee takes the majority of the reigns with. Internal projects, new product lines or championing a change such as adopting new technology or a restructure in workflows are all great ways to allow employees to step outside of their comfort zones. These kind of initiatives are the gateway into harbouring new skill-sets and embracing areas not usual to their daily tasks. Enabling employees to lead or manage side projects or totally new initiatives are the stepping stones into project management fields and opens a huge number of doors into other leadership roles.

Although most CEOs understand the importance of employee development, the sad truth is that they don’t devote the necessary time into excelling them into greater things. But the proof really is in the pudding. The more effort you put into developing employees, the higher the employee retention, productivity, engagement, turnover…the list goes on!

If you’re unsure as to where career progression can take you or your employees, Search Party have developed a nifty Career Path Tool. Simply type in your current role, and see how careers of people who’ve been in your shoes developed. Or, type in your dream job and see which paths can take you there. Check it out and let us know what you think!


Originally published by Search Party on 29 August 2016.

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How to Build a Stellar Brand and Rock the Social Media Ecosystem

In a vast and diverse online landscape, there are many channels and tools to explore. In the midst of all the digital hustle and bustle, major social platforms stand as real giants. From their shoulders, brands can extend their reach and make their messages resonate with a global audience.

Indeed, many businesses have managed to work miracles with their social media accounts. They became globally recognizable and have enhanced their bottom line in the process. But, make no mistake that this is a huge endeavor. Namely, one has to find a way to form a killer strategy and execute it in order to stand out among cohorts of competitive brands.

A tumultuous social age

Social media platforms are a next big business frontier. Consumers flock there to casually share and comment, but also interact with brands and get to know their human face. This creates immense opportunities to engage and delight. Of course, making it happen is much easier said than done. It requires a rock-solid strategy and a long-term commitment.

One of the first things to figure out is which network to pick as a distribution channel. You might want to use more than one but bear in mind that spreading yourself too thin is not the best idea, especially if you’re working with limited resources. The basic rule is simple: You have to be present on hubs that your target audience frequents.

An angle of approach

A thorough research is the cornerstone of your branding strategy. It allows you to tell in advance, with relative certainty, whether your campaigns will hit the mark or not. Just be aware that adults aged 18-34 are the most likely to follow a brand via social media (96%). So, if you cater to the older population, you might want to think twice before investing in branding there.

In general, networks with the largest user base (like Facebook and Twitter) offer an unparalleled reach and should be considered first. Then again, there are some niche platforms that could make sense in terms of what you do and industry sector you operate in. Likewise, image-heavy networks such as Pinterest and Instagram are a great marketing landscape to dispense your product photos and other visual assets.

Name of the social game

In any event, once you weigh all the pros and cons and identify the best channel, come up with a game plan on how to engage the audience there. To get inspired, you can take lessons from some of the best thought-out campaigns out there. They all have something in common: a deep understanding that modern businesses must add value to the lives of the customers.

Moreover, established brands are well aware that social media profiles pose powerful customer service tools. They provide around-the-clock support and display impressive responsiveness. Also, they keep up to date with prominent trends such as the surge in mobile usage. There were 2.56 billion of global social media users who accessed those networks via mobile devices in 2017. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to tailor the experience to their wants and needs.

Coming on top

There are some other trends that enable your brand to get into the limelight. Visual content reigns supreme: it is 40 times more likely to be shared than other types of content. So, ramp up your image and video production capacities. A good example is to use mockups for your brand content as quality content is an integral part of all good campaigns. Just make sure to produce a regular stream of it in accordance with your content calendar.

Furthermore, note that, although people discuss brands quite a lot, 96% of users does not actually follow brand-owned accounts. This is to say that businesses have to get creative and navigate around the distrust or weariness that users tend to exhibit towards businesses. The trick is to look beyond your corporate channels and launch campaigns that deviate from the traditional advertising logic.

Stay vigilant

Next, let us address one thing that often gets overlooked: keeping track of key performance indicators is vital. In other words, implement a robust social media monitoring strategy. Monitor non-branded conversations for brand mentions. Evaluate your engagement rates and how many social signals you generate. Actively manage brand health at all times. Stay flexible and adjust your strategy should it fail to bear fruit.

This may seem like a daunting task, but rest assured that social media branding pays rich dividends in the long run.

Around 71% of customers who have had a positive experience with a brand recommends it to others. Hence, you have a chance to make the most of word-of-mouth promotion and spread awareness far and wide.  Finally, remember that social signals, although not an official ranking factor, do affect your position in the search engine result pages (SERPs).

Polishing the competitive edge

Social media networks are major public arenas for brand-building. Before diving in, you need to test the digital waters and use acquired insights to create targeted campaigns.

Create a branded environment where customers feel appreciated and valued. Keep an eye on trends to stay on top of the game. Learn how to tell an engaging story and social media user people in. This should enable you to build lasting foundations of trust with your existing customers and win new people over at the same time.

Carry out branding with the maximum marketing impact: Get the word out there and cut through the marketing noise like a knife through hot butter.

Backlog Management: Making Sure  Your Backlog Is Lean 

A lot goes into running an online business. An online business can be classified as a variety of different things. You can run a website, build software, create an app or a wide range of other ventures. While more and more people are venturing online to start a business, it isn’t an easy task. There is not only a lot of competition but many new startups (whether online or not), will fail.

However, running a business today can also be easier than ever. There are many tools, software, and programs that can help with numerous aspects of your business. For example, with how important coding is to many businesses, there have been several different tools that can assist with your coding and monitoring your app. If you want to learn more about some of them, check out this link: JavaScript Error Logging Service Error Handling.

Unfortunately, trying to do too much or bloating your company with tools or other things can also often be problematic. Clutter or bloating in a company can cause many issues, and this is especially true when it comes to your backlog. A backlog is a collection or list of different new features, bug fixes, changes and more than your team wants to implement. If this backlog is too big or clogged up with stuff, it can hurt your business in many ways. It can slow down innovation, lead to confusion and can greatly reduce your time to market. With that in mind, this article is going to look at a couple of different tips to ensure your backlog is lean. 

Do Your Best to Prevent or Eliminate Waste

When you have a ton of unnecessary items in your backlog, it does nothing but wastes both time and resources. It can also make it quite tough to focus on the actual important items that could be buried in the backlog. As a result, you should get rid of any unnecessary entrants. Reducing the inventory to only things that are essential can go a long way. 

In addition to this, you should be sure to prevent any future waste or overproduction in your backlog. This means you should only look to provide what customers and users actually need, and not try to go above and beyond by overproducing. This will keep everything clean and concise and helps people focus on what is most important. 

Know When to Say No

As you are likely aware, it can be incredibly challenging to say no. This is especially true at the workplace and responding to colleague or coworker requests. However, when dealing with your backlog, it is incredibly important to be able to say no. Any ideas or potential entries that don’t contribute to the overall goal of the team should be declined.

This will ensure your product, software, company or program never becomes bloated. Sure, turning ideas down can be disheartening, it needs to be done. The less amount of items within the backlog, the leaner it will be. Even if something might be important later on, refrain from adding to the backlog to ensure it stays lean. Instead, you could add it to your roadmap or simply keep it on the back burner until it is time to make use of it.

Manage and Prioritize Your Backlog 

Of course, how your team actually manages the backlog can have a huge impact on how lean it is. You need to come up with a management plan and ensure everyone is on the same page regarding it. Everyone should be a part of ensuring the backlog is continuously updated and kept fresh. 

In addition to managing the backlog, it needs to be prioritized as well. You and your team need to work together to decide when and how each item should be implemented. Is it needed right now? Or can it wait for a future update? Addressing this early and often will make sure your team always knows how to move forward. 

In conclusion, hopefully, this blog post is able to help you make sure your backlog is lean. 

7 Tips for Planning a Smooth Business Event

A company cannot afford to have a business event go wrong. The planning has to be done carefully for everything to fall in place. This is because companies mostly rely on business events to promote their products as well as foster the employee community.

Ideally, a business event has to be entertaining, informative and innovative. To achieve this package, the people in charge of planning have to understand exactly what is needed.

Check out some tips that will help you achieve a smooth business event plan:

  1. Develop a budget

When making a budget to work with, try not to underestimate or overestimate. Ensure your budget is reasonable. Negotiating will help you get good deals for the venue and hotels.

Have these big expenses as accurately as possible and do not hazard a guess as to how much you think it might cost. Get the quote in writing so there are no unexpected add-ons which can quickly blow a budget.

  1. Who is your target audience?

Before you start thinking about what you will need for the event, have your attendees in mind. List down all the potential guests that you are expecting. Once you identify your target market, it will be easy to plan the event.

Let everything from the venue, food, and drinks revolve around your guests’ preferences. Have some idea of numbers that will be attending as this will affect costs.

  1. What is the event’s purpose?

To have a successful business event, you should have the event’s purpose in mind throughout the planning. This will help you stay focused. Every decision you make will be to support the event’s main goal.

  1. Be right with the event date

You do not want your business event to collide with holidays or events organised by other companies.

Do thorough research before giving your event date. Ensure the date you assign is not too close to holidays or any other event that might tamper with your event’s turn out.

  1. Use an event planning template

While planning your business event, it is also important to prepare people for what is coming up.

Use an event planning template that allows you to add images, videos and maybe the seating arrangements of the proposed business event. Include videos and pictures of your previously planned events to have your clients know what to expect. Fill them with anticipation for the event to ensure maximum attendance.

  1. Emphasize on advertising and marketing

You might think that this tip is not important, but it is! Let the community know what you are planning. Let people know about the upcoming event through marketing and advertising.

Use the media to promote your event. This will keep your potential guests in the know. The guests continue their anticipation for the event.

  1. Go through your checklist

As an event planner, you need to confirm and re-confirm that everything is as expected in advance. You do not want to be a last minute person. Your boss will not appreciate you asking for extra money to cater for an extra budget that you never saw coming.

Cover all your bases and double check so any last minute issues can be dealt with before the event.

Make sure you make all payments are done within a reasonable time frame. Not meeting payment deadlines could have a negative influence on the event planning as well as the event itself. Make deposits when needed!

Go through your to-do list to make sure everything has been done as expected.

Image Pixabay License CCO

Can shares be transferred to IEPF?

According to Section 126 (6) of the Companies Act of 2013, an amendment was passed in accordance with the transfer shares to the IEPF. The amendment stated that if the person has failed to recover unclaimed shares of a certain company for seven consecutive years, they are liable to be transferred to the user’s DEMAT account of the IEPF. The amendment further elaborates that all the shares that are held in a physical or dematerialized form and are required to be transferred to the IEPF authority, they will all be done so to the DEMAT accounts of the IEPF through corporate authorities.

The shareholders can transfer both the unclaimed shares and dividend to the IEPF and they can also be claimed from the authorities at the discretion of the shareholder. There are certain rules that they have to go through before doing so and one should not that there is no claim that can lie against the company with regards to the unclaimed shares and the dividend amount that is transferred to the DEMAT account of the IEPF. There is a procedure that has to be followed for the transfer of shares by the company to the authorities of the IEPF.

There are a  few things to be kept in mind in order to transfer the dividend or shares to the IEPF authorities:

  • The transfer of shares must happen within a period of 30 days after the completion of the seven consecutive years of holding the unclaimed shares or dividend amount. It needs to be specifically transferred to the “unpaid dividend account” of the IEPF authority.
  • It is essential to note that the shares will not be eligible to be transferred if the owner of the unclaimed Businesses shares or dividends has uncashed or withdrawn dividend warrants during the last 7 years.
  • The shareholder needs to ensure that they hold the board resolution that authorizes the company’s secretary who is carrying out the procedure or giving effect to the required acts for the purpose.
  • The respective shareholder need to be informed about the transfer at least 3 months before the deadline of the transfer of these shares.

The transfer of shares needs to be carried out according to the following procedure:

  • If the shares are in a DEMAT form, the concerned company should fill out the corporate actions form with the depository. If the shares are in a physical form, the company’s secretary must file an application on behalf of the shareholder who is under the ‘IEPF claim refund’ category. A new share certificate will be issued to such users. The DEMAT hold the functions and the features to support any operation regarding the IEPF and it also meets all requirements.
  • The new share certificate that is issued will be recorded in the register for the maintenance of records.
  • After the issue, the company shall let the depository know that they have to convert their shares certificates in the form of SEMAT so that it can be transferred in favor of the IEPF authorities. This has to be done through corporate action.
  • After this entire procedure, the concerned company should send in a statement to the IEPF authorities through an IEPF – 4 form and that must consist the details regarding the transfer of the dividend amount or shares while affecting the same.

 

5 Small Business Ideas for Women Entrepreneurs

The reason why running a small business is so hard is due to the fact that it takes too much time and energy for one to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Needless to say, for female entrepreneurs who also hope of starting a family, this might be even more challenging. Fortunately, we now live in a time when there are so many options available, that it shouldn’t be impossible for you to find something that can fit even in the tightest of schedules. With that in mind and without further ado, here are five small business ideas for women entrepreneurs.

1. Home-based catering business

The first idea that comes to mind is to start your own catering business, which you can further specialize by taking only certain types of events. For instance, you can specialize in corporate catering, small business catering or catering for parties. In order to achieve this, nonetheless, you need to compose a menu that you can work with, as well as find suppliers for, have an adequate kitchen facility and make sure that you follow sanitary rules and regulations. Also, the type of the event also mandates the size of your operations. Doing a catering for a huge wedding requires more hands, equipment, supplies and time than doing so for a small office party.

2. Creative freelance work

The next thing you can consider is doing some creative freelance work like writing content, blogging, selling photographs online and similar issues. The advantages of freelancing are numerous and straightforward. You work from home, which means that you can multitask while you’re at it (even though this drastically cuts down on your efficiency and productivity). Second, you get to choose your own work hours, which gives you the freedom to make a schedule with a better work-life balance. Lastly, there’s so much room for growth and advancement. In other words, you can start this out as a hobby or a source of side-income and, in time, turn it into a full-time.

3. Beauty therapy

Another great idea that you could pull off is start a business within your own home where you can meet, greet and treat clients. All you need is to take a single room that you’ll set aside as a home office, get the necessary equipment, purchase a brochure display for some brochures and flyers and get right into it. Offering services in the field of beauty therapy are always popular and quite profitable, yet, they this field is usually quite competitive. This is why getting a degree from a recognized educational institution like Perth Beauty College might help you get the reputation boost that you’ve needed all along.

4. Developing an app

Even though it’s true that this field requires a lot of specialization and technical prowess, the truth is that app-development has never been easier. In fact, there are some app builders out there that work on a drag-and-drop principle, meaning that all you need is a new idea in order to put your plans into action. Sure, sticking to these simplistic tools keeps you somewhat restricted in options, yet, this is still an option and, once you start earning money from this, it might be worth your while to learn a thing or two more about app development.

5. Online tutoring

One more business idea that you could try out is tutoring people online. If you have a skill, knowledge of a language that’s in demand or anything similar, you can find students online and hold lectures via a webcam in order to make an income. For those who are still unsure about how all of this work, they can always find an agency that provides these services and start working from them. Later on, you can find your own clients and enjoy the luxury of not having to share your profit with anyone else. In time, you can even start hiring tutors and make an agency of your own.

In conclusion

As you can see, these ideas greatly differ in business type and model, which leaves you with so much room for customization. This will allow you to make a business model that fits your own lifestyle and aspirations. Also, it gives you a chance to slowly scale your business over the course of time.

Benefits of Partnership Between Employers and Training Providers

The partnership between employers and training providers is important for both small businesses and massive corporations alike. Small business owners find this to be a frugal option, seeing as how they can’t afford to hire experts, which means that they are forced to train their own employees to become experts. As for the big companies, by having a solid collaboration with an RTO, they can customize the training program so that it fits the needs of their company. In other words, they’re not training niche experts, in general; instead, they’re training experts with a specific set of skills necessary for the position that they’re about to assume. Here are several benefits of this partnership that you should know about.

1. The choice of target skills

When it comes to traditional, formal education, its biggest downside is the fact that it gives an uniformed format of education, instead of specializing. This is where RTOs have a much greater advantage. Instead of training your entire staff to do a plethora of tasks around the office, you, as an employer, get to choose courses that benefit your brand the most. Needless to say, this makes your job of delegating tasks much simpler, as well, seeing as how you get to assign functions to your staff according to their skills and abilities. This can also help you avoid a lot about bias in choosing functions for team members.

2. Preparing for the future

The most important thing about the company’s future is the consistency of staff. Now, the problem in this lies in the fact that people leave your employ all the time. They go someplace else, start projects of their own, retire or even go on leave. The latter might not fall under the same category as the first three, yet, it still makes a team member unavailable. So, you need to have someone capable to take their place in order not to allow for an absence of a single team member to cause downtime. Moreover, you need to plan for the growth, which is why you need to start preparing your staff in time. By having assistance from VET professionals, you can easier anticipate these changes and get a better understanding of the process necessary to prepare your staff for this.

3. Setting objectives

Perhaps the biggest advantage, and the most underestimated one out there is your ability to set the objectives for the training. Namely, this training costs effort, time and resources. We’re not just talking about paying for the course but also providing your employees with materials like Compliant Learning Resources. So, you need to know that you’re getting your money’s worth from this deal. You need to know how the performance of the employee will improve after the training. Other than this, you need to know how this will affect your employee retention rate. The last thing you need is for someone to complete the training, under your tutelage and sponsorship only to leave you once a better offer arrives.

4. Including your employees

Keep in mind that while employee training is a positive thing, it’s not necessarily seen as such by an employee who sees it as mandatory and unnecessary. For instance, sending someone on a course that will prepare them to do a task that they don’t really care about might cause the employee to leave or, at very least, underperform. Instead, you need to allow your team members to become an active participant in the decision-making process. This can be much more efficient with the sufficient amount of collaboration with the training provider. In fact, putting in touch the employee in question and the training provider is the kind of networking that works to everyone’s benefit.

5. Internal vs. outsourced training

At the very end, it’s important to mention that there’s another form of employee training, one that’s much more common, yet, also the one that we’ve failed to mention so far. We’re talking about the internal or the in-house training. This either requires you to hire trainers or appoint some of your team members as mentors (start a mentoring program). Such a course of action will tailor your mentoring program to the needs of your company and generate materials to be reused in the future. Nonetheless, by teaming up with the right training provider and learning material supplier, you can achieve all of that with the addition of a much higher quality of training program. After all, we’re talking about specialized RTO.

In conclusion

At the very end, a partnership between employers and training providers is a business world occurrence that takes place virtually every single day. In other words, it’s something that deeply affects your business model and your business plans. Still, until you know all the benefits that you get to reap from this relationship, you won’t be able to tell just how cost-effective it is to invest your time and resources to make it all happen.

Understanding the GDPR: What We Know at the End of 2018

Since the GDPR act was unveiled in May, it has led many companies to rethink and restructure the way they outreach and communicate with their current and prospective audiences. The new, stricter guidelines left many companies in the dark about how it will affect their businesses.

There are three main reasons why you should care about the GDPR:

  1. Failing to comply will result in fines
  2. Even if you’re outside of Europe, it’s likely you will need to comply
  3. Your customer database will be more accurate

Ultimately, companies and businesses have had two years to bring their policies up to date, but complying with the changes hasn’t been easy for everyone. Some companies have opted down the route of emailing their customers about the changes to their terms and services, whereas others have had to shut down traffic from certain audiences. For example, the Chicago Tribune had to bar certain regions from entering their website because their website did not comply with European GDPR guidelines.

Who Does the GDPR Affect?

Understanding who the GDPR will affect and how can often be confusing, given the amount of misleading and often inaccurate information online. The ICO is the only source of information that you need to follow regarding the rules and regulations of the GDPR.

So, the information below has been taken straight from ICO and Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner in the UK, to help shed some light on who the GDPR affects and what you can do to adhere to its guidelines.

Personal data – this affects all information that can be used to identify someone. This includes:

  •     Names
  •     Emails
  •     Titles (careers)
  •     Locations

This also applies to both automated and manual data and even pseudonymous or key-coded data. In essence, if your business or service collects information that has the power to specifically identify someone, then GDPR will apply to you.

Email Marketing – if you rely on collecting customer’s email addresses in order to contact them, then you’re going to need to rethink the way you do that.

For example, if you’re an IT company and you want to inform people that you have a sale on, you’re going to have to prove your customers have specifically stated they’re happy to be contacted by you. Simply put, this means you will have to gain their permission in order to contact them.

There are various ways you can do this, the most popular method is by sending an online form to fill out with checkboxes. This means the recipient(s) of this email have to consciously tick a box if they would like to be contacted by you (the boxes, by default, will always be unticked). If your customer fails to respond to your email, it will be seen as dismissive and you will have no right to contact them.

Failing to abide by this rule will result in a fine or penalty depending on the severity if the action.

Understanding Charities and GDPR

One of the more controversial issues that stemmed from the GDPR was its effect on charities.

Several charities have misunderstood what the rules of the GDPR, leading them to email their donors asking them if they can still contact them, or ‘opt-in’ to their subscription service. The problem is that they never had to do this. Charitable organisations, for the most part, can still contact their donors because they fall under what the GDPR has categorised as ‘legitimate interest’ (direct mail also falls under this rule). This is a ruling that basically allows charities to keep hold of donors’ information, legally. Adrian Beney offers a simple example of how legitimate interest works:

“Here’s what we intend to do with your data. You can tell us if you’d prefer us not to”.

In contrast to consent:

        “Here’s what we would like to do with your data. Tell us if that’s OK”.

This has led to several charities losing thousands of donors because they did not read or at least understand the rules of the GDPR. Charities that chose to take the ‘opt-in’ route inevitably lost donors because not everyone will have responded, meaning these donors can no longer be contacted.

Flybe, Morrisons and Honda Have Been Fined

Big corporations have been tripped up by the GDPR regulations by failing to follow fairly simple guidelines regarding unsubscribed customers.

Flybe sent an email with the subject line “Are your details correct?” a smart and innocent way to get people to respond. However, Flybe sent that email to 3.3 million people that had already opted out and were consequently hit with a £70,000 fine.

Honda were also fined £13,000 after they emailed 290,000 people who had opted out of their marketing emails. Morrisons, in a similar incident, emailed 290,000 people regarding their new “Match and More” point scheme, but 131,000 people of that 290,000 had already opted out. This set Morrison’s back £10,500.

Ultimately, GDPR will be good for businesses because of the way it’s made us think about our online data and privacy policies. It’s forced us to think a bit more about who, online, has access to our data and how it’s being used. You could argue that several business have been exploiting our data for years, but now the GDPR is putting a stop to that.

Additionally, because customers now have to ‘opt-in’ to receiving marketing emails, businesses will lose all of the ‘false’ customers they had collected over the years. This means that when they’re correlating data, they can be sure that every customer is legitimate and isn’t simply a name on the mailing list that’s been dormant for months or even years.

4 Reasons Your Business Startup Needs Storage Space

In 2014 over 450,000 businesses were started in the United States. The constant economic growth post the 2008 economic crisis has been showing its face for a while now. One of the costliest expenses in any industry is space. Whether it is for storage, office or a production line, enough space is required for our enterprise to function properly. The ever-increasing prices of real estate make this a problem. Even more so for small businesses that are just getting started. The typical square footage being rented for a new small business usually revolves around 1,000. With the introduction of desks, electronic equipment, cubicles, and other office necessities, we do not have a lot of room left to work with. And renting additional space is not an option, again, because of the expenses involved. Here are the key points on how renting proper, adequate storage space is beneficial to our bottom line.

 

1. Optimizing space

 

When we lease some space, we need enough of it to house everything and everyone we need for business to run properly. And these are just the skeleton crew and the infrastructure. Even then, at the end of the day, we are left with very little room for anything else. In our beginner stage at least, it would not be a financially sound idea to rent additional space. This is the point where we can consider renting dedicated storage units. These are typically characterized by lower monthly rent, which makes it perfect for pure storage. Here we can leave advertising materials, filing cabinets, supplies of any kind, raw materials, desks, chairs, you name it. It is a good solution if you have a lot of assets of any kind that are not going to be immediately used.

 

2. Safety first

 

Another advantage of storage units over our garage is the level security it provides. Most facilities have constant video surveillance, guard personnel, pin-locks, perimeter fencing, and much more. The site manager will be onsite most of the time for any questions or need we might have. Also, we can distribute different pin codes for the locks on our units. What this will do, is provide us with detailed logs on who, when, and why has entered the storage unit. Also, there are contracts where we can ensure the contents inside our storage unit. For an extra fee, of course.

 

3. Redundancy

 

In the event of a catastrophe, heavens forbid, our stored assets will be safe off-site. Fires, especially electrical ones, flooding, and various natural disasters all pose a serious threat to our business. No matter where we find ourselves in the world, there is always some specificity we have to pay attention to. Sometimes it is just some cosmic joke or very bad luck at play. The saying “Do not put all your eggs in one basket” really starts to sound smart right about now. If we store our inventory, valuable equipment, and other company assets in the same place, that is a disaster waiting to happen. By separating our stored assets to multiple locations, we sever the chances of losing everything if worst comes to pass. This way if something does happen, at least we have a base to rebuild on, as we have not lost everything.

 

4. Going vertical

 

Since space is so expensive these days, we can maximize what we already have by going up, instead of to the side. Finding storage space with a higher ceiling, sort of speak will pay in the long run, greatly. By storing our assets vertically, we avoid renting greater surface areas which, obviously, cost more money. Yes, we would need to invest in scaffolding to form our giant storage shelves. Also, finding reliable electric forklifts in Australia, such as NFM Forklifts will prove to be very beneficial. They will save a lot of time and work hours by helping with the storing of assets at higher elevations. These initial investments will cost a bit more at the start but will save you money greatly in the long run. Not being forced to rent a second or even a third storing site can mean the difference between profit and going under. This reigns especially true for smaller companies in their initial phase of doing business.

 

Today’s global market is very atomized and competitive. There is always someone wanting their piece of the industry. By having a competitive advantage, no matter how small, these companies are at an advantage financially. Every dollar counts, especially when starting a business. One of the best ways to save money is to be rational with our leased-out space. Renting the smallest adequate space, but making the most of it is the winning recipe for running a successful business. No matter if your enterprise is a product based one or not, take as much away from these lessons and apply them yourself, today.

The Importance of Targeted SEO to Your Company’s Visibility (& Linkability)

SEO has often been viewed by businesses as an ethereal, mysterious thing that a company does for you, and with a sprinkle of magic marketing dust, you are ranking number one on Google for the right keywords and your niche. However, good SEO has been made up of a number of the same things for several years:

  • Good Web Design: While this goalpost has moved over the years, from optimized for desktop to optimized for mobile, from high-resolution video and photos to speed of loading, a modern web design that is responsive and provides a good user experience is essential.
  • Good Content: A website must have good content, from product pages and descriptions to landing pages and blogs, content needs to be informative, well written, and user-friendly.
  • Backlinks: These can be paid, earned, and social. Google expects businesses to pay for ads, earn links from reputable sites, and appear on social media. Link exchanges and guest posting is one of the best ways to earn backlinks. While the search engine still claims social links and shares do not affect ranking, they certainly can have an effect on organic traffic, and there is some debate about when they might become a legitimate factor.  

There is a bit more to it than that. The smarter Google becomes, the more it looks at websites like a human user does. Artificial intelligence and machine learning mean that user experience and relevance will continue to mean more than they ever have. This means SEO work needs to be targeted, implemented with a deliberate strategy, and treated as a continuous process.

Here are some reasons targeted SEO is important to your company’s visibility and linkability:

The Need for Linkable Content

As mentioned above, there are multiple kinds of backlinks. They are paid, earned, and social. The number of paid links your site has can be absolutely controlled by your ad spend. However, earned links can be partially controlled and deliberately built, and social links can be encouraged but only minimally controlled by you.

What is the key to earned and social links? Your content. It also determines how effective any paid links you have to your site are. Simply put, you need linkable content. Category or service pages, product descriptions, and thin blog posts are not link-worthy pages. Years of experience have taught link building companies what linkable content really is.

Fortunately, in November of 2015, everyone got a look at the Google Search Evaluator guidelines at the time. They confirmed much of what we had already learned. Google and users look for a few key things in your content, and Google uses those things to help determine your page rank. It is known as the E.A.T. principle:

  • Expertise: Not only does Google look at your company, but at the author of the content to determine expertise.
  • Authority: This is in the part where links come in. Outbound links to authoritative content establish you as an authoritative source, as do inbound links to the content itself.
  • Trustworthiness: This is also determined by organic, authoritative links to your content and the accuracy of what you have written.

Not only does content need to meet the E.A.T. principle, but it should also be informative and well written. Remember: Content is also a part of user experience, and thin content produces high bounce rates, sending users looking for the information they need elsewhere. It certainly means they will not link to it on their own website or share it on their social media profiles.

What makes content linkable is how informative it is, the clarity of the writing, and how well it is optimized for both search engines and real people. Without content that is worth linking to, it is difficult to either build or earn links.

Researching Relevancy

How do you know if your content is reaching the right searchers at the right time? Fortunately, this is easier to figure out than it ever has been — and yet more challenging as well. There is more data out there about users and their behavior on the internet than at any other time in history, and nearly any business can access this data through some simple analytics tools.

This means not only do we know what our potential customers are interested in, we know how they interact with the internet. Beyond just demographic analytics, we have access to behavioral analytics which are much more powerful.

All this data not only tells us what our ideal customers are searching for but how they are doing it. This can be taken from the general fact that over 60 percent of Google searches are done on mobile devices, and more people than ever are completing purchases on portable devices as well. You can also determine what devices your customers search on most frequently, whether they are iOS users or Android fans, and how much time they spend reading a blog post, and even how many searches they perform for a product or service before they make a purchase.

What this allows you to do is to target your content more specifically, and even create different content that will appeal to different sets of buyers. Relevant content is much more linkable, whether you are earning those links organically, want your users to share it on social media, or are engaged in a link building campaign targeting specific keywords.

Creating a Strategy

Now that you know why linkable content is necessary and you have established what is relevant to your potential customers, you need to create a targeted content strategy. Why? It’s simple: Without targets and specific goals, how will you know if your linkable content is working?

So what is a content strategy? It is deliberately creating content to support your efforts to rank for a specific keyword or set of keywords, and building and working to earn links to that content. This usually involves several pieces of content of varying lengths and types, internal linking, good onsite technical SEO, and content that is well written and informative.

A good SEO company will not only help you with your onsite technical SEO and link building but can also help you with your content strategy and creating linkable content. This entire process, which you should thoroughly understand, takes a lot of time, and unless you have a capable team in your marketing department, the time and money an outsourced expert will save you is more than worthwhile.

Filling in the Content Gaps

So now you understand the need for linkable content, you have done your research and know what is relevant, and you have a content strategy. Now it is time to fill in the content gaps on your website. Whether you have a robust blog filled with content or are just starting out, once you establish your content strategy, you’re going to find that you have content gaps.

What is a content gap? They are areas where you are missing content that is essential to your content strategy. It is essential that you fill these gaps in order to satisfy not only Google but your potential customers. You need the linkable content in order for targeted SEO to be effective.

Want to rank higher in Google for critical searches in your niche? Want your business to be more visible to searchers? It’s all about relevant content that is part of a content strategy, linkable content, and then building links to that content. Those are all a part of targeted SEO, the key to your company’s visibility and linkability.